• Apr

    Artscroll’s Wonderful Guide to Making your Kitchen Kosher for Pesach

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    We strongly recommend Artscroll’s great guide for making your kitchen Kosher for Pesach.

    Here at Orthodox Ketubot, we’ve long been fans of making the various mitzvot very clear so that everyone understands what we need to do in order to comply with the mitzvot most effectively.

    This guide is a wonderful addition to the literature — explaining, in clear and simple language, what we need to do in order to ensure that everything is kosher!

    In the meantime… chag sameach! We will enjoy not eating bread for this week — they say it’s healthier, anyway.

    -Team Orthodox Ketubot

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  • Feb

    Denmark Outlaws Kosher Meat

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    Today’s post has nothing to do with Ketubot nor anything Ketubah related.

    Rather, here at Orthodox Ketubot, we are distraught after reading all the emerging news, such as this article from Denmark: killing animals according to our ancient laws of Kashrut is now illegal.

    We are entering an ugly, ugly period in the history of the world.

    Jews, we must stick together.

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  • Jan

    Uruguay’s Rabbinate Now Requiring Prenups.

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    Some interesting news out of the Rabbinate of Uruguay: they are now requiring prenups. According to the Times of Israel:

    The Rabbinate of Uruguay is requiring Jewish couples marrying under its auspices to sign a rabbinic prenuptial agreement.

    Under the agreement, in the case of a couple that is divorcing civilly, the husband must give his wife a divorce under Jewish law, or a get, the South American country’s Rabbinate said Wednesday in a statement.

    Chief Rabbi Ben-Tzion Spitz, along with a legal and judicial committee, determined a version that is appropriate under both Jewish and Uruguay laws

    Read more here. The Ketubah is more significant, for Jews around the world, by the moment. And it is important how the Ketubah can be used hand-in-hand with a secular equivalent as well.

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  • Dec

    Invention of the Day: The Kosher Switch

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    Here at Orthodox Ketubot, we love neat inventions that help us satisfy our obligations as Jews, while also helping us live in the modern world.

    Today, we discovered one such device: the Kosher Switch.

    What is it?

    It’s a bit hard to understand from the webpage (Note to the Kosher Switch guys if you happen to stumble upon this: please explain what you do in a much clearer way!) but after being intrigued by it and digging through their pages, it seems to do something like this:

    A special type of light switch so that: if you press it while it’s Shabbat, nothing happens. But then, the circuit has a random coin toss, and that may or may not result in the light being turned on. This satisfies the halacha because, the action of you moving the switch does not result in the light being turned on, neither directly nor indirectly. Instead, adding in the random factor, adds the uncertainty of outcome — thus making it comply with the Halacha.

    We love it! We’d recommend everyone try it out! We will!

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  • Dec

    Editorial: “Why non-Orthodox Judaism is a disaster for Israel”

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    There’s a powerful article by Rabbi Avi Shafran in Ha’aretz, Why non-Orthodox Judaism is a disaster for Israel.


    Those of us who believe that the Torah, both its written text and accompanying Oral Law, were bequeathed by God to our Jewish ancestors at Sinai, and that its commandments and prohibitions remain incumbent on Jews to this day, obviously hope that those Jewish movements who lack these beliefs remain marginal forces in Israel.

    But that’s a hope born of the perspective of a particular belief system (albeit the shared conviction of all Jews’ ancestors until two centuries ago). Leaving such blatant subjectivity aside, though, would the growth of non-Orthodox Jewish theologies be a boon or a bane to Israeli society qua society?

    The answer may lie in the example of the United States, where the Reform and Conservative movements, as well as less popular groups like Reconstructionism and Humanistic Judaism, had and have free rein to lay claim to Jewish authenticity. And here in the American diaspora, the results of the Jewish Pluralism experiment? Decidedly binary.

    This article is worth the read in its entirety. Two thumbs up from your humble writer here.

    Of course, this opinion is not necessarily shared by the entire staff of Orthodox Ketubot. I speak only for myself!

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  • Nov

    19th Century Ketubah Artist

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    There’s a wonderful article in Tablet about Julius Bien, a 19th century New York Jewish artist, who got his start… creating Ketubot. As the article says:

    Today, artwork bearing Bien’s name can be found at institutions like the Brooklyn Museum, New York Public Library, Butler Museum of American Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Smithsonian American Art Museum. The ketubot Bien produced early in his career—including the one for Roos and Elsasser, currently housed at New York’s Jewish Museum—did not propel him to mainstream national fame. Instead, he received recognition for making high-quality maps of the expanding country for the government, prints depicting technological advancements like the railroad and reproducing, in lithographed form, Audubon’s Birds of America. As a lithographer, Bien was celebrated for advancing and making accessible 19th-century American knowledge production. Initially, Bien’s success at illustrating American intellectual progress makes his ketubah, a document mired in tradition, seem anomalous. But on close inspection, Bien’s concern for associating progress and American identity manifests in the ketubah. The marriage contract established as progressively American both the immigrants it served and the brand name “Julius Bien.”

    It’s interesting: we often think about Ketubah art as a late 20th century innovation, but examples like Julius Bien show us that there is ample precedent.

    Bien created Ketubot for a reform shul — but in that era, the reform shuls still used the same traditional Aramaic text! It was only in the mid-20th century, when the reform movement began using different text for their ketubot.

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  • Nov

    The $20,000 Ketubah

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    This Ketubah story almost sounds like it’s from a TV show: Jewish girl, 10, suing her mother’s former boyfriend to return her dog and her mother’s ketubah. To quote:

    A 10-year-old girl is upset that her mother’s former boyfriend kept her dog and won’t return it. A lawsuit was filed on behalf of the child of Detroit, Michigan, in an attempt to get her Poodle back from her mother’s former boyfriend…

    “The plaintiff gave the dog to the defendant to take care of it. She took another dog with her the day she left,” Rechter wrote in court documents. Besides the dog, Lenhoff said that Rechter kept thousands of dollars worth of items including rings, golf equipment, boots and her ketubah, which is a Jewish wedding license from her first marriage that she said is worth $20,000.

    A $20,000 Ketubah? Is that USD, not Zimbabwean dollars? We’ve known about commissioned Ketubot that cost a few thousand dollars to create. But we’ve never heard of anything more than about $3,000 for the most top of the line Ketubah imaginable.

    Maybe we should start selling $20,000 Ketubot ;)

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  • Nov

    Oldest Siddur Ever Found!

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    bible from 840ce

    Nothing to do with ketubot today, but an exciting discovery was made: World’s Oldest Siddur Slated For Future D.C. Bible Museum.

    The siddur found dates from the year 840 (CE)!!!

    As the article says,

    The discovery of the oldest Jewish siddur (prayer book) ever found has set off a flurry of attention on ancient religious texts. Dating back to 840 CE, the siddur sheds new light on medieval Judaism and the continuity of Jewish traditions over time.

    Currently part of Hobby Lobby President Steven Green’s “Green Collection,” the largest private collection of biblical texts and artifacts in the world, the siddur and the rest of the collection will be donated to the as yet unnamed international Bible museum in Washington, D.C., slated to open in 2017.

    Read more here.

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  • Nov

    Haredi Rabbi Finds $98,000 — And Returns It To Its Owner!

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    A beautiful story: a Charedi Rabbi bought a desk, with $98,000 in the drawer — and promptly returned the money to its owner.

    Read more here.

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  • Nov

    Great Parsha Analysis about Davening Early Maariv for Shabbos

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    Here at Orthodox Ketubot, we’re great fans of Parshablog — they consistently have insightful commentary into this week’s parsha.

    However, we happen to particularly enjoy this week’s analysis, about davening maariv early on erev Shabbat.

    Read, enjoy, learn! (And thank you, Parshablog, for being a great resource!)

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